number 24

We are family.

LAST WEEKEND was the first annual Rigg Reunion in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and heavens it was fun. My three brothers and I form the center of that lovely Rigg circle these days, along with our brothers and sisters in-law (although in our case you don't really need the "in-law" part anymore); our children and their spouses; our children's children. And while I recognize a family reunion is not a gathering novel enough to warrant a gigantic spotlight, there are some things that made this one particular poignant. For one, we grew up in a family business and for years and years and years so much of our conversation and interaction revolved around the biz. For another, our "collecting" in recent years was in orbit around our parents, as this was what their healthcare needs demanded. They are no longer with us (in the earthly sense), and we are a family left to find new ways to relate to each other.
As it turned out, this was not so difficult. There was a big log cabin and a long rocking-chair porch and a pretty, pretty view. There was a gigantic kitchen and so much food it seemed neither the bounty, nor the laughter, would ever end. There was a pool table and a grand pool tournament and one epic we-might-have-argued-over-the-rules-a-bit game of Train Dominoes. And there was this, which made my heart wildly happy: the time and space for intimate, meaningful conversation, which led to real connection--connection that, in most cases, is made virtually impossible by the geography that separates us.

ALL THIS HAS ME THINKING about the world today, which as we know, will look different an hour from now--when I send this Grace Notes--than it does at the moment of this writing. Indications are that with the difficult and heroic measures being taken to flatten the COVID-19 curve (and thus not overwhelm our hospitals and ICU units), most of us will spend a good chunk of time in "isolation at home" over the coming weeks or months, whenever that is, and however that is defined.

There is well-founded concern about how this isolation might negatively impact us collectively and as individuals. But my hope is that in the situations where it is possible, the result might actually be stronger, deeper connections with our closest loved ones--connections that are so difficult to maintain when our regular lives call us to run in a thousand directions.

It is my hope we will all give this some thought, and then some planning.

And I hope you will join me in noticing not just the fear and stress rising during this unprecedented time--but also the goodness in people that abounds. It is all around.

XXOO, Cathy

Love this gentle read and perspective: You Don't Have to Play Big, from Design for Mankind
I do love people who keep it real. Enter one Vivian Howard, of A Chef's Life fame, and put her in conversation with Laura Poole, owner of Capitol, a luxury clothing boutique in Charlotte, and I'M IN. They talk fashion (if you've watched Vivian's show this will strike you the way it strikes me), business, television, and living in the South. It's funny, honest, and you won't be surprised to discover Viv is one smart cookie. WHAT WE WORE: A Culinary Tale. I do love her. Enjoy.
I cannot believe I clicked on this link. Then I can't believe I tried it. But it works! Three Tricks for Parting Your Hair, from A Cup of Jo
My very most favorite song right now. As sweet Eliza responded when I sent it to her last week: HANDS IN THE AIR!!! Never One Thing, by May Erlwine
At least CURRENTLY READING. I am a quarter of the way through Elizabeth Strout's Olive, Again, and for me, the jury's still out. Still it won the Pulitzer so I will reserve judgement! I did love Olive Kitteridge, for the record.

Siding's on!

This is a (mostly) true story.
I recently turned 60, a fact that stuns my inside-I’m-still-28 self. Still my body insists it’s true, and in spite of my grand intentions to age with grace, I come clean in this post about the funny and sad realities of aging. (Note: I almost didn't post this after I wrote it, it felt so personal. But I'm so glad I did. I've heard from so many of you who are experiencing the same things and feeling the same feelings. WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!

There's enough trauma in the world right now, and I'm going to mind my language so that I don't add drama to the trauma. I'm mindful of being a calming influence.

Elizabeth Gilbert
view from Cats Mountain, 3.13.20
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